Paul Monninton is an avid Cornwall dwelling windSUPer who can regularly be found playing in the swells that bombard the St. Ives region. Staunchly a boom in hand man, rather than paddle, the Get Sectioned team is pleased to welcome him into the fold. Paul will be helping push the Loco brand and their windSUP designs, although a little bird tells us he may have also got hold of a touring SUP…
1. How did your Loco team rider status come about?
I’d been chatting to Joe, on an off, for a while about Loco as I’ve been impressed with the boards and with Joe’s philosophy. Now that the Loco range includes surf optimised windSUPs, it’s the perfect time for me to get on board with kit that’s going to take my longboard wavesailing to the next level.
2. What do you like about the Loco brand?
I really like the fact we have a UK based brand that is pushing development on the wave riding front. These boards have been designed by shapers I know and respect, which should see them perfectly suited for the conditions we get.
3. How will you be pushing the Loco brand in your area?
My niche is windSUP, so you’ll be seeing me out and about catching waves on my Loco kit. If you want to give windSUP a try, or want some tips, then I’ll be making myself available so feel free to give me a shout.
4. You’re an active windSUPer and rarely use a paddle; why is this?
I’ve windsurfed for over 25 years so I’m already pretty comfortable with a rig. I’ve found that with a long windSUP (9ft+) I can drift around the break really easily, ‘park up’ and wait for sets. I’m also convinced that once you are on the wave you can gain extra speed from the sail over the paddle, as well as having additional pull to balance against. With even very light side off winds, you get quite a lot of apparent wind once you’re on the wave.
5. Do Cornish waves lend themselves to windSUP?
Having beaches with proper groundswell on my doorstep is always going to be a winner. With so many spots offering different angles, and options with the wind and tide, it’s often possible to find just the wave you’re looking for.
6. You’re a bit of a pioneer of windSUP in your area; why do think others haven’t followed suit yet?
I think people aren’t yet aware of the fun to be had. People look at the size of a windSUP and think: ‘that can’t be as much fun as a short windsurfer’. But if you look at surfing in general you get both shortboarders and longboarders, so why not the same in windsurfing? Light wind on a windSUP is never going to be the same as powered up sailing on a shortboard, but it’s not meant to be. Having the option to go wavesailing in next to no wind has saved many a skunking at the beach – so much so, that I now actively seek out windSUP conditions. Windsurfing lost something by going down the planning only route – with windSUP we can get back to wind surfing, in the purest sense of the term, i.e. surfing with wind power.
7. How will you be encouraging people to get into windSUP?
I think there is plenty of work to be done to promote this part of SUP, to both windsurfers and those yet to rig up a sail. Hopefully, with my tie in to Loco, we can get the idea of longboard wavesailing out there and people will give it a try.
8. Have any of your fellow windsurfers thought about getting into windSUP?
Yes, a few have already either bought boards or retro fitted their existing SUPs with a mast track. Hopefully I can convince a few more to try it.
9. What are your local spots?
Gwithian and Marazion.
10. Do you ever get to ride anywhere else?
A few other spots around Cornwall, but I’m not often motivated to drive the miles to score waves – after all, I do have them on the doorstep so why travel?
11. Where’s your favourite global destination?
Ireland! I love Cornwall and south western Ireland is very similar in a lot of respects. I’m overdue a trip back there.
12. What’s on your bucket list for 2014; places to go, moves and goals etc?
Firstly to become photogenic so I can get a decent profile pic for this stuff…
During 2014 I’m looking to get more waves – WAY more waves, and bigger ones too. I’ve been finding, with my current kit, that once it gets over logo high my current SUP just isn’t fast enough. I’m hoping to find what I need to get the speed on bigger waves. I also think on those days when it’s light wind the windSUP will be the perfect toy for exploring a few new breaks. I’m also looking at getting to some more events. I’ve got my eye on Wales and Tiree, for the BWA tour, along with Cornwall of course. The National Watersports Festival, Hayling Island, is also must do trip. I want to do a few on forecast road trips as well – should time allow.
13. Convince us why windSUP is such a good thing?
I’ve spent so much time on my windSUP that it’s really helped my wave sailing in general – it’s great being able to spend more time on the water and in waves. This has led me to having better wave selection and better rides both when I windSUP and also when I windsurf. I’m the ease windSUP gives when getting out in bigger swell has really helped my confidence. Let’s face it; if you can get nailed on a 9ft board with a rig, getting smashed on a small waveboard is a piece of cake.
I should of course mention that I’m also the guy on the water catching waves when the rest of the windsurf world are sitting in their vans wishing for more wind.
14. Do you windSUP on the flat?
Other than some rehab sailing, after breaking my foot, and the occasional play around with light wind freestyle, I’m normally looking for a wave.
15. How do we get you to use a paddle?
Well, don’t tell the world but, I’ve got a 12.6ft touring SUP heading my way. I live close to the River Fal so I’m looking forward to paddles to the pub, along with exploring some of the creeks.
16. Tell us (briefly) about your pet spiders
It’s always good to have a few spiders about the place, and they have ended up with names. Bitsy is probably my favourite and she has a great appetite for clearing flies out of the porch. I have a new one in the van now as well. It lives in the wing mirror and recently deposited baby spiders all over the place, so I’ll no doubt come back to my van looking like it’s been in Shelob’s lair.
17. Tea or coffee?
Tea – proper builders or Yorkshire tea made so you can stand a spoon upright in it.
18. Bacon or sausage sarnie?
Sausage and egg.
19. Blondes or brunettes?
20. Final thoughts?
Have I missed any good waves while I’ve been answering all these questions?